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McConnell: Capitol Mob 'Fed Lies' And 'Provoked By The President'

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File

In his first remarks specifically linking President Trump to the Capitol riot on January 6th, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell signaled a clear split with the outgoing president as he previewed the upcoming inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden.

For weeks following the election, McConnell let Trump's court challenges and rhetoric about election rigging proceed largely without comment. Tuesday, the Republican leader took a new posture, directly tying the president's words to the events of January 6th.

"This mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the President and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like," the GOP leader told colleagues.

McConnell did not go on to name others he sees as responsible for egging on the mob, instead pivoting to an itinerary for Wednesday's inauguration and his view of the message sent by voters, who handed control of the Congress and the White House to Democrats.

"Certainly November’s elections did not hand any side a mandate for sweeping ideological change. Americans elected a closely-divided Senate, a closely-divided House, and a presidential candidate who said he’d represent everyone," the senator continued.

McConnell also commended the work of the Justice Department in pursuing the rioters and thanked Capitol Police and all who helped secure the building.